Local News

Senate committee takes up paid leave this week

By Amy Ash Nixon, VTDigger.org

A bill aimed at giving workers in Vermont paid time off for illness or other emergencies is back before the Senate. S.15, which would grant workers seven earned leave days off a year, or a total of 56 hours. The leave could be used for personal illness, illness in the family, helping family members obtain legal or social services in the cases of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking, or the need to stay home in the case of a school closing for health or safety reasons.

The bill would require that employees in Vermont “accrue a minimum number of hours of paid sick time annually and prohibits employers from penalizing employees who use their accrued sick time.”

Under the proposed legislation, an employee would accrue “not less than one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked; (and) an employer may require a waiting period for new hires.” It would requrire new employees work 500 hours before being eligible for the leave benefit.

If passed, the bill would make Vermont the fourth state in the nation, after Connecticut, California and Massachusetts, to enact a paid leave law.

Citing a fringe benefits study conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor in 2013, the bill claims that roughly 60,000 Vermont workers lack paid leave.

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